Social media marketing practices by alcohol brands and drinking venues: Do they encourage alcohol misuse in Hong Kong?
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractObjectives: Young adults are highly active users of social networking sites. Past studies have shown that social media use is correlated with the use of illicit drugs and tobacco. In recent years, the alcohol industry has scaled up its digital advertising expenditures on sites such as Facebook with broad-reaching campaigns in order to encourage young adults to consume their products. This content analysis examines social media marketing practices targeting Hong Kong young adults by popular alcohol brands and local drinking venues.

Significant findings: We collected 168 Facebook posts published by five alcohol brands and four alcohol-serving venues in 2018 and 2019. Both alcohol brands and venues employ highly engaging social media marketing strategies. The sample contains 73 alcohol brand posts with an average of 269.2 reactions (i.e. giving likes) and 13.5 shares per post. The main marketing practices involved were asking fans to do something (53.4%) and consumption suggestions (53.4%). The main themes invoked by these branded alcohol posts were creating a distinct identity (83.6%) i.e. friendship (28.8%), followed by displaying sense fun/humor (35.6%). For venues, 95 posts were captured (14.8 reactions and 3.18 shares per post). The main marketing practices employed were association with time and place (83.2%) and asking fans to reserve a table (44.2%). The main themes were crafting an identity (82.1%) with posts associating the venue with an aspirational lifestyle (33.7%) and celebration (29.5%). Of note, only 1.8% of the posts by brands and none by the venues contains message promoting responsible consumption.

Implications and impact: The absence of ‘responsible drinking’ messages combined with the promotion of social drinking images where binge drinking commonly occurs is likely to encourage heavy alcohol consumption in this age group. Government health authorities should consider establishing regional, evidence-based policies on alcohol social media marketing.
Acceptance Date15/09/2020
All Author(s) ListRufina H.W. Chan, Dong Dong, Jiazhou Yu, Jean H. Kim
Name of Conference5th Asian Pacific Problem Gambling and Addiction Conference
Start Date of Conference27/11/2020
End Date of Conference28/11/2020
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Year2020
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2021-30-11 at 16:17